So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pell City AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Pell City AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and also regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Pell City AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Pell City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Pell City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Pell City AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Pell City AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Pell City AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Pell City AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Pell City AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pell City AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Pell City X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Pell City Alabama.